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Okagbare Wins Another Title

Sports

POSTED: Saturday, March 13, 2010 - 9:52pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 13, 2010 - 11:41pm

EL PASO – Track and field standout Blessing Okagbare etched her name in the UTEP record books on Saturday night when she claimed her second crown at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.

For a Miner program rich in athletic excellence and tradition, Okagbare became the first female in school history to win two titles in a single national meet when she sprinted a time of 7.18 in the 60 meters.

“She just put herself at the top of UTEP’s track and field history today,” head coach Bob Kitchens said from Arkansas. “No woman has ever done that at the national meet and proud doesn’t even come close to how we feel about this athlete.”

The seven-time All-American went into this weekend’s meet with the nation’s top time in the event, 7.18, set during the Conference USA Championships on Feb. 26 in Houston. Also competing in the event, however, was the defending champion Lakya Brookins from South Carolina.

Okagbare outlasted Brookins who finished third and recorded an official time of 7.172 while Texas A&M’s Gabby Mayo clocked in at 7.175.

Although not official until Sunday, Okagbare earns her eighth and ninth U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-America honor. The Sapele, Nigeria, native won her first national title during yesterday’s long jump competition.

“Okagbare is not only one of the greatest female athletes of all time to have competed at UTEP,” Kitchens added. “But she ranks right up there with all the male athletes that have competed and excelled in a Miner uniform.”

Aside from being the first woman to win two titles in a single national meet, Okagbare joins an elite group of Miner greats to have achieved the feat. UTEP greats and world-renowned athletes Bob Beamon (1968-long/triple jump) and Suleiman Nyambui (1982-mile/two mile run) are the only two other Miners to have accomplished two first-place finishes at the indoor national meet. Nyambui (three times), Obadele Thompson, Olapade Adeniken, Gidamis Shahanga and Fred DeBernardi claimed a pair of titles in outdoor national championships.

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